We all know we should take the good with the bad, but when everything seems to be going particularly bad (Brexit, the weather...need I continue?), we often forget what we have to be thankful for.
Today is the International Day of Happiness, and whilst being happy is not reserved for one day out of the year, why not use today to take a breath and take stock of the things in your life that make you smile.
After all, we could all do with a happiness boost and the good news is, there are simple actions we can take to do this.
The extensive research on the science of happiness over the past few decades has provided us with the key ingredients and methods to create more happiness in our lives.
Here are some top tips on how to bring more sunshine into your life:
Our relationships are the most important thing for our happiness. Close relationships with family and friends provide love and support. Broader social connections provide a sense of belonging. Research has found having strong relationships leads to a happier, healthier and longer life. So, it’s important to strengthen your relationships and make new connections.
Action: Call a family member or friend to chat. Learn the name of someone new today.
Love yourself, exactly the way you are. Nobody is perfect, even if it looks that way on their social profiles. Now more than ever we compare our real lives to the seemingly real, but carefully edited lives of other people. Focusing on our flaws rather than our strengths makes it much harder to be happy.
Action: Ask someone who knows you well to tell you what they think your real strengths are.
Overthinking causes unhappiness. Dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. Being in the present moment more through practices like meditation have been shown to physically change your brain for good.
Action: Try this free 7 day email course from Shamash Alidina, one of the UK’s most well-known mindfulness experts.
Your ability to respond healthily to situations – whether with joy, laughter, sadness, anger or fear – and then reset to a calmer place, involves a whole cascade of chemical reactions. For each of those chemical steps to occur, you need specific vitamins, minerals and other nutrients . If you don’t have enough of them, it becomes incredibly difficult to reset and find your happy place.
Action: Eat nutritious food, drink more water and try this drink to feed your happy; HAPS SuperFruits+.
Getting outside your comfort zone increases your learning, emotional flexibility and resilience. Physically getting outside into nature improves your health and wellbeing. Adventure doesn’t have to involve world travel or extreme sports though. Here’s the top tip from adventure specialists, Unknown Epic
Action: Head out into nature with no agenda but to be there. And the only scary part, leave your phone at home.
People who have purpose in their lives are happier. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression. Purpose might come from work, family, charitable activity or religious beliefs. We each find purpose in different ways but it always involves being part of something bigger than ourselves.
Action: Check out The Happy Startup School, a community of purposeful entrepreneurs and change makers.
Life is always going to have highs and lows. Happiness wouldn’t exist without also experiencing sadness. Bad things happen and that’s never going to change. Our emotional response however can change. It never gets easier, you just get better.
Action: Make a list what helped you bounce back from difficult times in the past.
It’s tough to take these actions when you’re feeling low, but start small with just one small change. Challenge someone else to do the same and you can then encourage each other to take action. Knowing is good, doing is better, so just do it.
Rik Turner is the founder of WE ARE HAPS, creators of a serotonin-boosting drinks